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Western Michigan University’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School has announced plans to cut tuition by 21% and close its satellite campus near Detroit in Auburn Hills, Michigan, at the end of 2020.
The tuition cut is intended to help Cooley attract a stronger pool of applicants and meet the ABA’s revised bar-passage standards, Cooley President and Dean James McGrath told Law.com. Crain’s Detroit Business and MLive.com also have coverage.
The revised and tougher standard requires at least 75% of a law school’s graduates who took a bar exam to pass within two years of graduation.
McGrath also said Cooley’s tuition is higher than that of its competitor schools.
Beginning in fall 2020, tuition will be cut from the current rate of $1,750 per credit hour to $1,375 per credit hour, according to a press release. That amounts to a drop from about $52,500 to $41,250 for a 30-hour year.
The plan to close the Auburn Hills campus, attended by 231 students, would have to be approved by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, as well as the Higher Learning Commission. Students in Auburn Hills would receive individualized counseling on completing their degrees.
Auburn Hills students might be able to finish their degrees through online classes or externships, McGrath told Law.com.
Cooley also plans to “reduce the footprint” of its campus in Lansing, Michigan, where three of four buildings are currently in use. The school is considering leasing or selling the vacant building, according to MLive.com.
Cooley said in its press release that any decisions on job cuts “will be made with the hope of maximizing voluntary attrition and relocating as many impacted employees as possible.”
The Cooley and Auburn Hills locations are among five campuses operated by Cooley. The school also has campuses in Tampa, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The school had more than 4,000 students at its peak and currently enrolls about one-fourth that number of students, according to Law.com.